Chiropractic care for older adults with low back pain reduces declines in activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental ADLs, and improves self-rated health better than medical care


Weigel PS, MS, Wolinsky FD, PhD.The Comparative Effect of Episodes of Chiropractic & Medical Treatment on the Health of Older Adults. JMPT 2014;xx:1-12. Epub ahead of print.

Comments: This 2014 paper reviews a large data base of 1057 older adults treated with either chiropractic care or standard medical care for low back pain and then follows them for two additional years to compare outcomes. Chiropractic care was associated with reduced declines in ADLs, instrumental ADLS (using the phone, taking medication, handling money, shopping, preparing meals), and better self-rated health than medical care. Slowing the rate of functional decline, disability, & dependency among older adults reduces the threat of institutionalization & preserves autonomy & well-being. The study concludes that chiropractic use in episodes of care for uncomplicated back conditions has protective effects against declines in ADLs, instrumental ADLs, & self-rated health for older Medicare beneficiaries over a 2-year period.

Study compares chiropractic to medical treatment (Tx) in episodes of care for uncomplicated back conditions & their affects on declines in function & well-being over 2 years among 1057 clinically homogenous older adults. Data is from the nationally representative “Survey on Assets & Health Dynamics among the Oldest Old ”which were linked to subjects’ Medicare claims.

Functional health changes to evaluate disability indicators are measured by the number of limitations in: Activities of daily living (ADLs): :difficulties with getting across a room, getting dressed, bathing/ showering, eating, & getting in or out of bed.

Instrumental ADLs (IADLs): :difficulties with using a telephone, taking medication, handling money, shopping, & preparing meals.

Lower body function (LBFs).
Changes in well-being which are closely associated with future functional decline, dependency, & mortality are measured by self-rated health & depressive symptoms.
Slowing the rate of functional decline, disability, & dependency among older adults reduces the threat of institutionalization & preserves autonomy & well-being.
Results:there is a significant protective effect of chiropractic against declines in activities of daily living, instrumental ADLs, & self-rated health compared to medical care for Tx an episode of LBP.
Conclusion:The findings suggest that chiropractic use in episodes of care for uncomplicated back conditions has protective effects against declines in ADLs, instrumental ADLs, & self-rated health for older Medicare beneficiaries over a 2-year period.